I have an idea that I may or may not be able to achieve... to make an edible candle. True, there are edible candles in the sense that you can technically eat them (i. e. soy wax), but I want to make a candle that the diner will want to eat, not just have the ability to digest. To my knowledge, this has never been done before (I'm sure I will be corrected if I'm wrong).
The first seed of this idea was born before chadzilla (the blog, not me!). We were doing a dinner for the Chaine des Rotisseurs and the main course was lamb. Being the Chaine, the courses were kept within the borders of traditional flavors... but where to take it from there. We had the idea (and were able to successfully pull off) a candle made of rosemary mint butter that was lit and served on the plate. As the wick burned down, it melted the butter into... let's say a 'sauce.' The plan was to instruct the diners to either dip there morsels of lamb into the flavored butter, or simply pour it onto the meat. Although we used votive glass holders, it is definitely possible to use a candle mold to create a free-standing candle that would melt onto the plate. Everything worked out great, the Chaine was impressed (they later voted our dinner 'Best Meal of the Year'), and we all patted ourselves on the back.
Fast forward... present day.
Although the butter candle is interesting on its own, I am still haunted by the idea of creating a candle made from a water-based gel (at this point the gel can be of any flavor within the realm of infusing into a liquid) that would 'melt' into a sauce as the candle burned.
I tried an experiment with 5 different gelling agents (given that they all produce unique textures and have different melting and gelling points). Sounds good on the surface, but they all just fizzled out when the flame neared the gel.
Is it because the gels are in fact, water based... and fire doesn't like water? There is water in butter, but also a high amount of fat. Wax is a lipid (in case you were wondering what in the hell wax is in relation to cooking). It is sometimes used to smooth out chocolate or coat cheeses. The simplest forms of wax are actually methane and then octane. The solid waxes we are familiar with are more complex and take the solid form we all know. There is also something called gel wax (which sounds like the right road to take here), but it is made from a mixture of wax and mineral oil... still not appetizing when you think about it. Is there any combination or amount of gel that would work here... a gel mixed with an oil?
If it weren't for the fact that the butter candle actually worked, I would abandon the idea. Does the candle have to be limited to fats alone (there were also milk solids, water, and flavoring herbs in the mix). If so, I have some nice snowy white Berkshire fat sitting in the walk-in. Great possibility, but how would a guest react to having a shot glass of melting lard on their plate?
Where to go next? Any suggestions?